Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughts on Appreciating Mystery

I've been thinking lately about the need of Westerners to have an answer for everything.  We seem to like having explanations and rationalisations for every little thing.  That which is unknown or unknowable bothers us because it is undefined.  In other words, we like to put things in neat, little boxes.

I am not speaking about the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. That is all well and good.  I am referring instead to the mysteries of life that can't be explained, the things that we would rather not deal with because we can't find the answers.  I wonder how much we miss because we won't entertain these mysteries with a sense of wonder and hospitality?
"The fruit of the Enlightenment has been a boringly small world devoid of both mystery and the sacred. Science offered us a brave new world of wonder-full technologies and products but has not lived up to its promises. A world devoid of mystery turns out to be a world that is too small for the human spirit. This is why Albert Einstein said, 'The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious... Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are diminished.'

"The great Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that there are two possible ways of knowing and responding to the world: the way of reason and the way of wonder. The way of reason seeks to eliminate mystery and bring the world under our control. The way of wonder accepts the mysteries of life and responds with something that is familiar to children but forgotten by most adults: awe."
-David Benner, Soulful Spirituality (Albert Einstein quote from Ideas and Opinions)

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